Sonoma State’s O’Koyea Dickson hopes to resume wearing a blue and white jersey in the near future. Meanwhile, the former College of San Mateo baseball standout looks to bring his tape-measure power and all-around hitting to the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League.
Dickson will call Ogden, Utah his home for the time being, hoping to make his mark in the minors and chase the dream of every kid that picked up baseball as a sport – to crack a spot in the major leagues.
The 5-foot-11, 212-pound Dickson, who’s been hitting balls out of major league ballparks since his sophomore year of high school, has added discipline at the plate to his raw-slugging power and elevated his stock with his everyday work ethic.
Package that with a steady glove at first base, and it wasn’t long until someone had his eye on Dickson. He was selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the MLB Draft, 374th overall, on June 7, the lone first baseman drafted by the team.
“One thing that is unique about him is that he has more walks than strikeouts,” said Orsino Hill, the Dodgers’ area scout for Northern California. “That is very rare for a power hitter. My personal philosophy when looking for a hitter is to see if he can hit the whole field, and he definitely can. That’s when I knew he was a complete hitter.”
Dickson’s fierce competitiveness and eye for the big moment were on display most recently in Division II play as he catapulted Sonoma State to the College World Series. With the Seawolves trailing top-seeded Grand Valley State 6-5 in the ninth inning, Dickson hit a sinking fastball in his power zone for a solo home run to left field. That blast eventually helped Sonoma State to a 7-6 victory in 11 innings, snapping Grand Valley State’s 32-game win streak.
“I’ve come a long way,” said Dickson. “I’ve had great teammates and coaches to help me become the player I am today. I stayed with it each and every day and I never gave up on myself even when things weren’t going my way.”
The junior led Sonoma State with 73 hits, 61 runs, 11 home runs and a .565 slugging percentage, powering the team to a 37-22 season. He ranked a close second on the team with a .341 batting average, 13 doubles and 52 RBIs.
Hill, the scout, believes Dickson can play first base at any level, but could also see playing time in the outfield because of his athleticism.
“He has no glaring weaknesses,” said Hill, who drew comparisons to Dodger great Steve Garvey. “O’Koyea is a power hitter, but he is the type of hitter that doesn’t give away an at-bat. You see most young hitters get one or two hits and then try to go deep – but not him. His bat is his major tool and he knows how to use it.”
Fresh off the postseason, Dickson is now working out at the ClubHouse Training Schools in South San Francisco, honing his craft each day as he and the Dodgers negotiate his contract.
“I’m working on my stride to the ball and doing long-distance running to keep my legs in shape,” said Dickson.
“Having worked out and hit with him this offseason, I quickly gathered that O’Koyea brings a desire to be the best he can,” said Pawtucket Red Sox outfielder and former CSM star Daniel Nava. “People are drawn to him, so he has that leadership mentality that any team loves to have.”
“Couple that with a very good bat with raw power and quick hands and I think it’s clear you have a middle-of-the-order type of player,” added Nava.
Dickson’s maturity is right where it needs to be, according to Hill.
“The main thing that impressed me about him was his make-up -- he’s all business. He comes to play every game,” he said. “He handles himself like a true professional, a class act.”